This screen shot depicts the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SuperTracker application on Jan. 11, 2013. The application allows users to track the foods they eat and compare it to their nutrition targets.
From the start of the SuperTracker project, meeting the needs of our nearly two million users has been our top priority. We pride ourselves on our ability to quickly respond to feedback on everything from tweaks to the site’s layout and design to suggestions for new features—such as the recently added a function that allows users to set a personal Calorie goal. We were even recognized as one of the government’s best in customer service by the Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council! Read more »
USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum featured a weather outlook for 2013 during the final session of the two-day event in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to the 2013 outlook—which was presented by National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Anthony Artusa—USDA meteorologists Brad Rippey and Eric Luebehusen recapped some of the key U.S. and Northern Hemisphere agricultural drought highlights, respectively, from the summer of 2012. In particular, the U.S. heartland suffered through its worst agricultural drought in a generation, with effects similar to those observed in 1988. Grain corn was the hardest-hit U.S. row crop, while the livestock sector was severely affected by a lack of feed due to drought-ravaged rangeland and pastures. Meanwhile, a hotter-, drier‐than‐normal summer impacted crops from southern Europe into central and eastern Russia. Hardest-hit crops included corn in Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria, as well as spring wheat in Russia’s Siberia District. Read more »
In recognition of National Women’s History Month, the South Dakota USDA Rural Development staff salutes all of the inspiring, influential women who are making a difference in society at the local, state and national level. In line with this year’s theme of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SMART) we draw strength and inspiration through the tenacity of one woman’s journey, Dawn Emily Ottman.
After a career in the military followed by a decade of success as an engineer, Dawn sustained a head injury. After years of relearning to walk and adjusting to her disability, she made the decision to work when she could, and not give up. So what’s a woman to do when she spends her life contributing and now finds herself requiring too many “accommodations” in the workplace? She creates her own job where she can accommodate her disability challenges. And so it was in 2005, when CanDew Scientific, a small business of one employee and a renewable energy “green engineering” company was formed with assistance received through the Small Business Development Center (SDBC). Centers of this type are funded across the nation in part with assistance from USDA Rural Development. Read more »
On March 19, USDA joined millions of Americans in celebrating National Agriculture Day.
National Agriculture Day provides an important opportunity each year to say “Thank You” to America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It’s a time to recognize their productivity and to celebrate their abilities.
Their work has real impacts for every American. Our abundant food supply means that we spend a lower portion of our income on food than the people of any other developed nation. Meanwhile, America’s agricultural exports support more than one million jobs here at home.
As we celebrate their achievements, it’s important for all of us to understand the uncertainty faced by our farmers, ranchers and growers. In the past year, they have endured the worst drought in generations – putting an extra strain on farmers, and raising input costs for livestock and dairy producers. The drought continues to impact many areas of the nation today. Read more »
Tiger swallowtail on phlox. The Wayne National Forest People’s Garden includes a native prairie, shade and several pollinator gardens. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Next time you’re in the Midwest and thinking of hiking, all-terrain vehicle riding, mountain biking or horseback riding, visit the Wayne National Forest in the hills of southeastern Ohio. It’s there you’ll find more than 300 miles of trails to do those things and much more. Read more »
Sosene Asifoa is a farmer on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa. He raises pigs and grows vegetables such as dryland taro, cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage. He’s also a regular supplier of top soil to the American Samoa Community College Land Grant Extension Service for their greenhouse operations.
For years, Asifoa had been using vetiver grass to control erosion on his steep cropland fields, which are typical in American Samoa. In 2009, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service gave him funding to continue planting and propagating this grass around his 10.4-acre property. He even helped the American Samoa Soil and Water Conservation District propagate the vetiver for other farmers to use. Such vegetative barriers have since become one of the standards for controlling erosion in steep farming situations in American Samoa.
Asifoa also received funding to construct new dry-litter piggery facilities. He typically has 80–100 pigs at any given time and, prior to building these facilities, he washed manure out of the pigs’ stalls, causing a runoff of nutrients into nearby streams and ponds. Read more »